CEO of Aspira Pat Lucey takes the Business & Finance 60-second challenge.
Q. What was your first job?
Filling petrol at our family shop and petrol station as I grew up. When I started, I was the same height as the petrol caps on the cars, so there was always a risk of the petrol blowing back into my eyes!
I saw how hard my parents worked to build their business and their emphasis on innovations such as the first ice-cream cone machine – it has really shaped my own work ethic and Aspira’s focus on innovation.
Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?
In the past year, Aspira developed a new database and reporting system that will be used to record cancer incidents in Ireland.
I feel very proud that, because of the work completed by our team, there will be better data available on the efficacy of cancer treatments, facilitating improved decision-making and research.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
To treat my customers the way I would like to be treated.
I always strive for honesty – Aspira don’t overpromise on what can be delivered. If you ask us for the impossible, we will not make a worthless commitment to you. Instead, we will tell you it’s impossible and then figure out what is achievable. Once we commit to something – we always deliver.
Q. If you could step into the shoes of one businessperson for the day, who would it be and why?
Warren Buffett. I love the way that, for such a wealthy man, he lives a really unassuming lifestyle.
He also advocates calmness when people start losing their head. And he is really very smart. I’d love to have some of his smarts, just for a day.
Q. In three words or less, how do you define success?
Earned, not won.
Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?
Fear of failure is a big motivator for me. If Aspira take on a new project, I am very driven to see it succeed.
I try to motivate my staff by understanding what it is that they find interesting to do, then giving them the opportunity to work in that area. I am also a big believer in giving responsibility to young people – they (usually) respond really well.
Q. How do you relax?
I love sport: watching Limerick hurl or Cork City games at Turner’s Cross. Nowadays, the most activity I get is walking my dog!
Q. What’s your motto?
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’m a big believer in being supportive, especially when the going gets tough. It’s easy to reward people who take risks and succeed. But it’s vital to support people when the risks don’t pay off.
It’s then they feel exposed and insecure, and that’s when I repeat the ‘what doesn’t kill you’ motto. It emphasises that, even though they may not have been successful, they will have gained invaluable knowledge, which they can apply to do a better job next time.
Q. What are your aspirations for the future of your business?
The Aspira name was chosen because we have very real aspirations for global domination. We are an Irish company making an international impact, and we aim to become globally recognised for excellence.
While our base is in Ireland, our consulting and IT services are also being delivered in Europe and the USA and we have exciting plans for growth in these markets.
It’s easy to reward people who take risks and succeed. But it’s vital to support people when the risks don’t pay off
Pat Lucey is CEO and co-founder of Aspira, a consulting and enterprise IT services company.
Lucey is currently president-elect of the Ireland Chapter of the Project Management Institute and is a recognised thought-leader in project management and entrepreneurship.
With more than 20 years’ experience in managing large-scale product development, he has also provided project management consultancy internationally to Fortune 500 companies and public bodies.
With a team headquartered in Cork and with offices in Dublin and Limerick, Aspira has delivered consistent growth and won numerous industry awards. Aspira’s client base covers the US, UK, and Europe.